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The-Lost-Novels-of-Bram-StokerReviewed by Nina Longfield

The Lost Novels of Bram Stoker is a compilation of Stoker’s lesser known works brought together by editor Stephen Jones in remembrance of Bram Stoker one hundred years after his death. The Lost Novels of Bram Stoker contains The Lady of the Shroud, The Jewel of Seven Stars, and The Lair of the White Worm. Although the three novels contained within this collection have never technically been lost, they remain relatively unknown when compared to Stoker’s definitive work, Dracula. Within these covers, Jones brought together the three novels as Stoker originally wrote them and intended them for publication.

Stoker published The Jewel of Seven Stars in 1903. This novel is an entertaining adventure tale set in England but fully embracing the prevalent fascination of the time period for all things Egyptian. It is the story of a scholar’s desire to decipher the clues of his Egyptian treasure trove in an effort to revive an ancient Egyptian mummy. Things go awry and Trelawney’s daughter Margaret solicits the help of Mister Malcolm Ross. Together, they delve into the mystery of Trelawney’s coma-like sleep and the old man’s history leading up to his sudden illness. Ross describes Margaret Trelawney as a strong, not shy, woman when he first arrives at the Trelawney Estate, but he develops a compassionate regard towards her as he learns that she never truly knew her father and all that he discovers in their quest is just as new to Margaret as well as to himself. The Jewel of Seven Stars is a fun read, with mystery and tension thrown in. My one regret was the ending. Stoker developed a masterful tale but the ending seemed unfortunately rushed after his successful build up.

The Lady of the Shroud, published 1909, begins with adventurer Rupert Sent Leger inheriting a great fortune from his late uncle Roger Melton. However, in order to claim his inheritance, Rupert must complete a task. It is a strange adventure Rupert embarks on to the mythical Land of Blue Mountains along the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea. Once there, at castle Vissarion, Rupert becomes enthralled by a mystery. He is visited repeatedly by a ghostly woman dressed in a burial shroud. Rupert is determined to uncover the mystery of the shrouded lady despite the dangers involved. This is an intriguing and gripping novel. It does begin slowly. I recommend pushing through the first thirty pages, which are mostly back-story, but with useful information that makes sense of the greater story. The greater portion of the novel is well worth the slow beginning as the mystery consumes the narrative.

The Lair of the White Worm, Bram Stoker’s last novel, is a confusing twisted tale of mesmerism, monsters, and evil. It begins with Adam Salton being called from Australia to live with his great-uncle and only living relative in England. Once there, Adam discovers a mystery that has resulted in the slaughter of livestock and is now attacking the children of the small English country village. This mystery is a tale that tracks back in ancient folklore and myth. The mystery centers around Edgar Caswall, the heir of Caswall Estate, a known mesmerizer, and Lady Arabella March, who appears to be the controller of a monster. With all the build up of the story, the ending is unfortunately rushed and at time difficult to figure out what exactly is happening. Despite the ending, it’s an entertaining story.

The three novels within The Lost Novels of Bram Stoker were all written following the success of Dracula, which was published in 1897. With differing narrative styling, each novel is completely different so a reader could continue from one novel to the next without feeling bogged down with one style or voice. A bonus to this collection is the insightful introductions written by Jones before each of the novels. These essays lead the reader into the history of the story and help to place the novel in time from when it was first written to present incarnations. The downside to each novel seemed to be the rushed endings. Yet, despite the flaws, these are fun entertaining reads for anyone looking for an imaginative collection of stories.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Nina Longfield is a writer living in Oregon’s fertile wine country. When she is not reading or writing in her spare time, Nina enjoys hiking in the hills surrounding her cabin.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Skyhorse Publishing. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received